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solve

[solv]
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verb (used with object), solved, solv·ing.
  1. to find the answer or explanation for; clear up; explain: to solve the mystery of the missing books.
  2. to work out the answer or solution to (a mathematical problem).
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Origin of solve

1400–50; late Middle English solven < Latin solvere to loosen, free, release, dissolve
Related formssolv·er, nounpre·solve, verb (used with object), pre·solved, pre·solv·ing.un·solved, adjectivewell-solved, adjective

Synonyms for solve

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for solve

do, determine, fix, explain, clarify, have, settle, decide, lick, illuminate, puzzle, unlock, divine, enlighten, disentangle, fathom, decode, unravel, crack, construe

Examples from the Web for solve

Contemporary Examples of solve

Historical Examples of solve

  • When you solve a sum you go from "a" to "b" and from "b" to "c" and from "c" to "d" and so on.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • But this does not astonish us when we understand the difficulties which he was obliged to solve.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • To solve their problem the engineers borrowed an idea from the Sumerians.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • He was trying to solve his problem and Tillie's, and what he had found was no solution, but a compromise.

    K

    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • I asked, astonished at Jim's behavior, and anxious for some clew by which to solve its mystery.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith


British Dictionary definitions for solve

solve

verb (tr)
  1. to find the explanation for or solution to (a mystery, problem, etc)
  2. maths
    1. to work out the answer to (a problem)
    2. to obtain the roots of (an equation)
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Derived Formssolver, noun

Word Origin for solve

C15: from Latin solvere to loosen, release, free from debt
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for solve

v.

late 14c., "to disperse, dissipate, loosen," from Latin solvere "to loosen, dissolve; untie, release, detach; depart; unlock; scatter; dismiss; accomplish, fulfill; explain; remove," from PIE *se-lu-, from reflexive pronoun *s(w)e- (see idiom) + root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart" (see lose). The meaning "explain, answer" is attested from 1530s; for sense evolution, see solution. Mathematical use is attested from 1737. Related: Solved; solving.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper